German Joint Ocean Flux Study, Institute for Marine Research
Data Center Description
The role of the ocean in controlling climate change through the storage and transport of heat (and liquid water) was recognised early on by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and led to the planning of the Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere (TOGA) study and the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE). In parallel to these initiatives, the Joint SCOR (Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research) and IOC (International Oceanographic Commission) Committee on Climatic Change and the Ocean (CCCO) proposed a global survey of the oceanic carbon dioxide (CO2) budget field, and WOCE agreed to accommodate a small CO2 programme on the ships taking part in the WOCE Hydrographic Programme (WHP). At that time, marine geochemists and biologists were also concerned that a physical transport model with only an upper boundary condition would be inadequate to determine the role of the ocean in the atmospheric carbon dioxide budget and hence the prediction of climate change in response to the atmospheric build-up of greenhouse gases would not be possible. These concerns were articulated at a NATO meeting in 1982 on the chemistry of the upper ocean (Brewer, 1986) and at a workshop in the USA in 1984 (GOFS, 1984). The proceedings of these meetings provided the initial scientific focus and framework for ocean biogeochemistry and various national programmes.
As early as 1986, several European countries were nationally planning ocean studies with a focus on the carbon cycle and flux from the surface to the deep ocean and sediments. However, to determine global net fluxes and the processes controlling them was beyond the capability of any one nation. Shortly thereafter in February 1987, the formal organisation of JGOFS emerged under the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR). Sponsored by SCOR and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), leading experts in the ocean carbon cycle met in Paris and agreed upon the goals, scientific elements, topics of emphasis and organisational structure of JGOFS (SCOR, 1987), and in October 1987, the Executive Committee of SCOR approved an international planning committee for JGOFS that met for the first time in January 1988. Later the same year, JGOFS assumed responsibility for the carbon dioxide measurements programme and formed the Joint JGOFS-CCCO Advisory Panel on Carbon Dioxide.